Kids seem naturally attracted to all things seaworthy, which is probably why they’re fascinated with everything from the Jonah and the Whale tale to Sponge Bob Squarepants’ latest antics. Whether you’re running a daycare center, babysitting or hosting your children's friends, elevate snack time to new heights by inviting your charges to make their own clever sea creature snacks.
Turn cream cheese or whipped topping into a creamy ocean by adding a few drops of blue food coloring. Give the kids a slice of bread, rice cakes or graham crackers and pass around the cream cheese base and a bowl of multicolored, fish-shaped crackers to decorate the snacks. Or, put blue-tinted whipped topping into bowls and let the kids add gummy sharks and banana and strawberry slices.
Serve up octopuses for a snack and let the kids add some personality. A hot dog that’s been slit from the ends while leaving a head intact will curl up when it cooks. Cut eight slits into each hot dog and then fry, broil or boil the meat -- you’ll produce a gang of not-so-menacing sea creatures for little snackers. Ask kids to “finger paint” faces on their octopus with ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard.
Make octopops for a cool summer refresher. Pour blue juice or fruit punch into small paper cups, then have the kids arrange eight gummy worms around the rim and then pour in the juice so the worms are half submerged. Add a craft stick and freeze. When the kids peel away the cups, each octopop will look menacing when those squiggly worm legs hang down and turn into tentacles.
Make and refrigerate blue gelatin. Once it starts to set, ask the kids to put sliced grapes, gummy sharks and gummy fish into their individual ocean dessert cups. Substitute pineapple sea creatures for the gummy candies if you want to reduce sugar. Mark each dish with names so kids collect the right under-sea snack once everything gels.
Boil a box of pasta shells. Tint Alfredo sauce ocean blue with food coloring. Put the shells into snack-size bowls. Top with the blue sauce and invite kids to add colored fish crackers to their snack. If pasta is too filling for an afternoon snack, turn the kids loose making their own coral reefs of puffy cheese snacks glued together with squirts of cheese from a can. Add fish crackers to the reef. Have plenty of towels available because this activity is messy.
Make rice cereal and marshmallow monsters by preparing a recipe for rice cereal squares. Instead of pressing the mix into a baking pan, give each child a cup of the mix to make a monster worthy of a prize. Prepare a bowl of blue-tinted whipped topping so kids can dip their monsters into the ocean before eating them. This snack recipe is sweet enough to transform snack time into giggle time, so put off naps if it's on the menu.